When Deb Moxam’s kids left home she was heartbroken. Her feelings went beyond empty-nester blues and her way back to feeling useful was through turning cast-off, everyday items, into creative and functional décor pieces. Making got her focused, it got her busy and it brought her joy.
“It was comforting and satisfying to take this junk that no one else wanted and turn it into something that I’d like,” Moxam explains from her home, just outside of Maynooth.
Making, for Moxam, was healing and as her heart got used to her emptier home, her inner artist took-up more and more space. And the feelings of comfort she created for herself are now felt by the people who collect Moxam’s one-of-a-kind up-cycled pieces of functional art.
Growing-up, there wasn’t’ much money so Moxam says everything that was given to her family was used. Everything had value in her eyes so up-cycling juts came naturally.
Moxam didn’t start small – her first project was her barn. Today it is covered with old bits and bobs, rusty tools, missing pieces and small bits that glitter. And from the barn – her workspace was born. When Moxam finds interesting pieces, she attaches them to the barn and as she finds a use for them in her art, she pulls them from the old walls – an ever-changing installation of rustic adornments.
She loves the faded paint on old wood, the rust on metal and she takes great joy in how she can change the value of a piece with sandpaper, elbow grease and a good coat of wax.
Twenty years ago, she started showing and selling her work at a now legendary craft event called, MacKenzie Lane. He pieces were extremely well received, and she started growing her fan base and her market. But from her small-town success also grew a group of dedicated fans who pick and collect unique items for her to use. Her property is now filled with soon-to-be treasures that have been gifted and donated – including a gorgeous garden shed that serves as a come-by-chance gallery where she sells her treasures.
Everything has a new life on Moxam’s property. Old bed springs hang from the ceiling of the garden shed, where small art pieces will hang in the warmer weather. Old window frames are piled high – waiting to be chosen for chalkboards, mirrors and picture frames.
Her kids used to think she invented recycling and the creative process is a family affair – with Moxam’s husband helping with the assembly of some of the pieces. She says he’s a genius with wire and accepting of the fact that she hates symmetry.
Moxam says when people donate things to her, they often receive an up-cycled piece as a thank you.
Moxam also finds great inspiration at local thrift and vintage stores. As a volunteer with Hospice North Hastings, at Vintage on Hastings, in downtown Bancroft, Moxam says volunteering can be expensive.
“The other volunteers save things for me – they know what I like,” she laughs.
Moxam’s pieces are now being sold, through consignment, at Vintage on Hastings and the quirky, crafted with love and care treasures are hard to keep in stock.
You can check out Deb Moxam’s up-cycled treasures at Vintage on Hastings while they last and for more inspiration, visit Barn Chores on Facebook. Proceeds from sales support the free programs and services that Hospice North Hastings offers in the community.